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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 86-91

The determinants of out-of-pocket health-care expenses for diabetes mellitus patients in India: An examination of a tertiary care government hospital in Delhi

1 Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
3 Department of LSE Health, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurav Basu
Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/picr.PICR_169_18

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Objective: To assess the determinants of out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses on diabetes-related treatment incurred in patients attending outpatient clinics in a tertiary care hospital in Delhi, India. Study Design: A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a quasi-experimental study was conducted over 8 months in 2016 in a major tertiary care hospital in Delhi. Methods: The study included 375 diabetes patients up to 65 years of age on treatment for at least a year without significant complications. Data were collected through a patient interview schedule. Results: Of the previous six scheduled appointments, at least two missed appointments were seen in 267 (71.2%) patients. The average patient's OOP expenditure on diabetes-related medicines was ₹63.5 a month, a similar amount was spent on traveling to and from health facilities. Sixty-four (17.1%) patients took antidiabetic medication for <85% of the days in the previous 3 months. Conclusion: There exists a high burden of missed clinic appointments among diabetes patients in tertiary care government health settings in India. This appears to be related to the high cost in terms of both time and money involved in attending appointments for the modest benefit of a dispensation of a 15-day drug refill. Health policy measures focused on strengthening medication coverage need to explore the balance of costs and benefits when determining the frequency of clinical appointments in these settings.

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